Joan Robinson

From Academic Kids

Joan Robinson (1903 in Surrey - 1983) was a Keynesian economist who was well known for her knowledge of monetary economics and wide-ranging contributions to economic theory. In 1937, she became a full lecturer in economics. She joined the British Academy in 1958 and was then elected the fellow of Newnham College in 1962. In 1979, four years before she died; she was given the position of full professor.

Joan Robinson's career started when she focused on writing her Neoclassical Theory to assist the Neoclassical General Equilibrium Theory. (After returning to Cambridge from India with her husband, the economist Austin Robinson in 1929.) The Economics of Imperfect Competition (1933) was the first book on a subject which keeps microeconomists busy to this day, but typically, she moved on rapidly.

As a member of the "Cambridge School" of economics, Robinson assisted with the support and exposition of Keynes' General Theory, writing especially on its employment implications in 1936 and 1937 (in the midst of the Great Depression it tried to explain).

In 1942 Robinson's An Essay on Marxian Economics famously concentrated on Marx as an economist, helping revive the debate on this aspect of his legacy.

During the Second World War, Joan Robinson worked on a few different Committees for the Wartime Labour Government. During this time, she visited Soviet Union as well as China. She developed an interest in underdeveloped and developing nations and contributed a lot that is now understood in this section of economics. At that time, she praised the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

In 1949, she was invited by Ragnar Frisch to become the vice president of the Econometric Society but declined because she couldn't be part of the editorial committee on a journal she couldn't read.

In 1956, Joan Robinson published her magnum opus, The Accumulation of Capital, which extended Keynesianism into the long-run. Six years later, she published another book about the growth theory, which talked about concepts of "Golden Age" growth paths. Afterwards, she worked together with Nicholas Kaldor and developed the Cambridge growth theory with him.

Close to the end of her life she studied and concentrated on methological problems in economics and tried to recover the original message of Keynes' General Theory. Between 1962 and 1980 she wrote many books to try and bring several economic theories to the general public.


Major works

  • The Economics of Imperfect Competition (1933)
  • An Essay on Marxian Economics (1942)
  • Accumulation of Capital (1956)
  • Essays in the Theory of Economic Growth (1962)
  • Economic Philosophy: An essay on the progress of economic thought (1962)

Texts for the lay reader

  • Economics is a serious subject: The apologia of an economist to the mathematician, the scientist and the plain man,(1932) Publisher: W. Heffer & Sons, ASIN: B00089X0DM
  • Introduction to the Theory of Employment (1937)
  • An Introduction to Modern Economics (1973) with John Eatwell
  • The Arms Race (1982), Tanner Lectures on Human Values


  • "The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists."


See Also

External links

de:Joan Robinson


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